Lincoln’s election affected U.S. the most, survey shows


    LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The selection of Abraham Lincoln as the nation’s commander in chief in 1860 shaped America’s future more than any other U.S. presidential election, according to a national survey released today by the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center.

    Gary Gregg, McConnell Center director, and Randall Adkins, a University of Nebraska political scientist, polled 53 scholars considered experts on the U.S. presidency, campaigns and elections. They asked questions such as “Which election was the most competitive” and “Which election led to the most significant change in public policy?”

    “Not all election years are created equal,” Gregg said. “We set out to find the ones with the most impact on our nation and on our politics.”

    Lincoln’s election placed at the top in the survey. He received less than 40 percent of the popular vote but nearly 60 percent of the electoral college vote, reflecting a deep split in the nation over slavery and other issues that ultimately led to the Civil War.

    Other elections with the biggest impact, in order, were: